Urban Chickens

The chicken coop is replacing the dog house in many suburban homes for a good reason. Chickens are a local source of protein a natural pest controller, and make a great fertilizer for your garden. Find out about poultry care, different breeds, chicken coops designs and more.

Home Scale Units

The following images, videos and diagrams are of different home scale aquaponics units. Some of these units perform better than others, but each one is unique and a reference for those attempting to figure out what to build.

Constant Flow Aquaponics Systems

Another type of aquaponic system that is used both commercially and on home scale is the constant flow aquaponic system. There are both advantages and disadvantages to using this type of system over a traditional ebb & flow system, the choice is left up to the farmer. Some farmers swear by the constant flow system as it requires less maintenance, however this is not always the truth, as it does require that you supply ample amount of oxygen to the tank for both the fish and vegetables.

The graphic below shows a single grow bed designed for using without a grow medium. These beds are flooded to an approximate depth of 12 inches and flowing continuously from and to the fish tank. The plants are secured in a floating platform with the roots extending directly into the water. With this system, you need to make sure the water is properly aerated to give the plants sufficient oxygen to the roots.

aquaponic constant flow unit

You can check out a system like this being used in a full scale commercial production at the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHBhyqowSEc

AERATION FOR CONSTANT FLOW SYSTEMS

The following Information was provided via DIY Aquaponics. These guys are great, I would totally reccomend that you check out thier website for more information.

Building an air flow aeration system is a little labor intensive to build. I don’t mean difficult though, just time consuming, but it can’t be beat for creating bubbles over a wide area and oxygenating the water. Basically it is very simple.

For this system you can use an air pump or large commercial oil-less air compressor (which ever you use, it must to be oil-less). It is recommended that the air be pumped through a high pressure copper tubing supply line. A regulator outlet valve can be attached and used to provide a lower air pressure to a 2 inch PVC manifold leading to the inflow end of the fish tank.

From the manifold, a piece of 1 inch PVC tubing is extended about 10 inches out over the edge of the fish tank and elbowed at a 90° angle toward the bottom of the tank. Another 90° elbow is installed at the end and another piece of 1 inch PVC is then run across the bottom of the tank. It sits about 2 inches from the bottom of the tank and running from one side of the inflow end of the tank to the other and a capped is installed on the end.

That portion of the tube is where the actual intensive labor comes in. Before it is installed, naturally, to create this section, draw straight lines at 1/4 inch intervals around the 1 inch PVC from one end to the other; then mark them at 1/4 inch increments from one end to the other and draw a line around the tubing at each mark. Using a 1/32 inch drill bit, drill tiny pin-holes where each of the lines intersects. It is permissible to even drilled holes in the end cap just for good measure. I mean why not, it was there!

This is the difficult part as the drill bit is hardly larger than a needle. A larger pin hole can be created using a 1/8 inch bit if desired, but the smaller holes create a much finer stream. Suffice it to say, it is possible you will break a number of bits before you finished. However, the results are well worth the effort. A study stream of foam like bubbles can be created which can actually cause the water to boil up at least 1 to 1 ½ inches above the water level of the tank all across the end of the tank.

A note of caution to prevent problems later, always remember, after the holes are drilled, you must make sure there are no obstructions in the holes and also clean out the inside of the tube carefully removing all filings. A possible solution is the use of a heavy grit piece of sandpaper wrapped and tacked around a wooden dowel and rammed through the PVC. Then use a high pressure air nozzle to insure no bits or pieces of the drilling process were left to later block the air holes.”

Aquaponic Drip System

Drip systems are commonly used in gardening around the world. The concept is simply provide the needed amount of water directly to the plants roots. The drip system was able to revive gardening and farming in areas where wahter is scarce because of its controlled water wise system. Aquaponic farmers have adabted the drip system for a number of reasons, however controlling the exact flow of water and distributing it egally through out a grow bed has to be one of the elading proirities of using such a system.

aquaponics drip system
The diagram above shows a simplified verson of a drip system used in aquaponic farming. The black spots represent where the plants are places. The nutirent rich fish water is pumped from the fish tanks to the manifolds sititng at the top of the grow bed. Holes are then drilled into the manifolds and small tubing spickets are inserted into these holes and secured with glue into place.  Drip tubes cut into the desired lengths are then pushed onto the spickets and placed in the grow medium next to each plant.

The system pumps are operated by a timer which turns them on and off at your desired period of time, pumping water to the plants and then allowing the cleaned water to return to the fish tank via the gravity feed system.

For more information I would check out DIY Aquaponics